A year after the highly acclaimed and successful Far Cry 5, Ubisoft brings beloved fans and newcomers a whole new adventure in Far Cry: New Dawn. Although a ‘continuation’ of sorts after the events of its predecessor, New Dawn serves as a standalone spin-off of the series.
The storyline is set in a post-apocalyptic universe, where nuclear warfare has wiped out almost all of humanity. Without humans, nature and wildlife begin to reclaim the earth, creating life anew. After living underground for 17 years, a group of survivors finally step on land and begin efforts to recover and develop their broken world. This group of survivors, ironically dubbed the community of “Prosperity”, begin to slowly bloom within Hope County. But this peace is short lived, because Mickey and Lou, the leaders of a rogue nomadic biker gang known as the Highwaymen, begin threatening their existence, pillaging land, people and resources. As a last hope, the survivors call on Thomas Rush, a folk hero known for rebuilding communities, and you, his overlooking security officer, to assist them in their battle for peace. Add in a group of quirky specialists and an improbable alliance with New Eden, the remnants of John Seed’s antagonistic cult, and you’ll get an adventure worthwhile.
From the jump, fans will realize that this newest installation brings the same action-packed, immersive open-world experience they have grown to love from the series. The game begins with an incredible array of different cinematic settings. One second you are fighting for your life in the chaotic landscape of a fiery train wreck amongst a debris of derailed train compartments and enemies at every corner. Another you are venturing through lush greenery and swimming through shimmering water to accumulate enough building components to progress through the journey. This duality in landscapes provides a unique experience for players to venture off and explore many different terrains. The cut scenes littered throughout are also sharp and beautifully rendered. The gameplay is cohesive and reminiscent of its counterparts in the series, with the most significant addition being that every lifeform now has a continuous health bar. Based on the kind of player you are, this can either be bothersome and unnecessary or aiding to your adventure. Worth noting that during my first run through, I was faced with some minor glitches like wild animals moving in and out of closed cages or enemies doing the same through solid walls but this did not result in any significant impact to the gameplay.
The crafting functions are important aspect of Far Cry games and this game definitely does it justice. Resources can now be used for creating firearms, gear and vehicles. These scraps, scattered all over the map, are available by looting from downed enemies or can be gathered through doing treasure hunts. These treasure hunts require players to solve puzzles in unique abandoned locations to earn cool rewards. Hunting and fishing are also great ways to loot and gather building components, but be vary of the new ‘monstrous’ animals, as they’ll put up a good fight. The ability to create weapon modifications has been removed. However, in its place is a more RPG-friendly approach of creating ‘signature weapons’, which are pre-established makeshift firearms, put together with the scrap you collect. This does however make looting weapons from downed enemies pretty much fruitless. Overall, the building functions are easy to work with, especially with the split screen view of your inventory and potential craft, while also providing a plethora of unique combinations to enhance the creative gameplay experience.
As previously touched on, gearing more towards traditional aspects of RPGs, New Dawn introduces a new “leveling” element to both gear and enemies. Weapons, vehicles and “Prosperity”, as the mother base, all have levels which are upgraded using resources and scrap. These upgrades unlock more powerful arms, better modes of transportation, and other benefits like increasing overall health, the power to purchase maps and allowing players to access “Expeditions”. Enemies are also categorized into 4 separate levels of difficulty, varying in health, armour and damage as they progress. This is also apparent with animals and wildlife, where stronger beasts have a higher health gauge and increasingly deal more damage but also drop considerably more rewarding loot.
Expeditions are the newest (and arguably most anticipated) feature in New Dawn and provide players an interesting co-operative experience with a change in pace and environment to the storyline. The quirky Quebecois helicopter pilot Roger Cadoret, at the cost of a little ethanol, transports you on adventures set across other US regions that are accessible only through this game mode. Your aim is to secure packages containing rare loot within the middle of enemy territory. Stealth or guns-blazing, you choose how to approach the situation. Regardless of your decision, the package is laced with GPS tracking so be prepared to force your way out from herds of enemies as you evacuate to the helicopter extraction point. By retrieving the package, players are increasingly rewarded with loot. The leveling system also transfers over, raising the difficulty of each completed expedition and encouraging players to replay levels online with friends or with AI assisted help.
Escalation in difficulty is also present in completing outposts. Continuously defeating and “liberating” the outposts reward players with resources and ethanol. In order to collect sufficient ethanol, the primary resource required to progress through the game, replaying outposts becomes a core loop of the game. After liberating an outpost, players can then “scavenge” the post to cause Highwaymen to come back stronger with better defences. Completing these scavenged outposts rewards player with better loot and more ethanol.
New Dawn is a uniquely inventive medium between bright-and-beautiful and post-apocalyptic. It plays in an interestingly fresh space for Ubisoft, experimenting with RPG elements and providing players with a different way to play. Don’t be fooled by New Dawn being a “non-numbered game” in the Far Cry series, it is as complete as you would want it to be, offering plenty of gameplay and things to do. The game is definitely worth checking out.
Now go out there and save Prosperity!